Monday, August 1, 2022

Birds and How to ID Them- a new tool for me

While on our Garden Fling I chatted with a few fellow bird lovers. We heard a bird singing in the front garden of one of our first stops. It was hard to see the bird through the leaves and branches of the trees in the very lush front garden. I was chatting with both Jean and Kylee and we couldn't figure out who was singing. A little later, in the back yard both Kylee and Jean shared that it was a White-eyed Vireo. They made the identification through one of the Cornell bird apps, BirdNET 

It was easy to use, Kylee gave me a quick tutorial and I downloaded the app right away. 

Back at home I am always watching the birds, making identifications, taking photos, and I put together a bird book for each of my grandkids.  I hear the Eastern Towhee often but as they are usually ground feeders, I don't have them on the deck or at the feeders, under the feeders- yes. Last month I was happy to see a male Eastern Towhee scratching around the base of the seed feeder. When I first saw a Towhee, I thought it was a mutant Robin! Oh how far I have come with identifying birds!  

Look who was with 'Daddy' Eastern Towhee! Most likely a juvenile male. They scratched around the soil together finding some seeds.

I didn't see the female around anywhere, but was thrilled to see these two!

Since I knew what an Eastern Towhee looked like and what he sounds like, I didn't need my app. Fast forward to this weekend. I heard a bird in my front woods. It was singing a little chirpy song and I didn't know who it was. I pulled out my trusty app on the cellphone and it made an ID right away.

 See the little green check marks on the screen? That's its chirp, quite distinctive! It is an Eastern Wood-Peewee. I didn't know this bird at all, so I needed to see if I could see who was singing way up in the pine tree. Next step was to get my camera with the zoom lens. As many of you also experience, once the camera comes out, all is quiet. I had a Dragonfly float around and land near me. Thanks Mr. Dragonfly.

I walked back to the house, giving up on getting a photo of my new-to-me bird when he started singing again. This time he was closer, sort of. He was in a tall pine and behind a small branch. I walked up the driveway, slowly as to not scare him away and zoomed in on him. According to Cornell's it is smaller than a Bluebird and larger than a Chickadee. The muted colors made it a bit of a challenge to find through the viewfinder, but patience paid off. Finally got a few good photos. One of the photos shows him in mid-chirp, which helped me know for sure he was the one chirping/singing. Let me introduce you to an Eastern Wood-Peewee

"Let me turn my head for my good side"

Beak open, mid song.

I recommend this BirdNET app and also Merlin, another free app from Cornell's Lab of Ornithology- All About Birds. Both are easy to use. Even if you know a few birds, these two apps help you learn songs and physical identifications for so many birds. 

©Copyright 2022 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.